Calvinism - Covenant Theology
A theological system within Protestant Christianity that is largely known for its emphasis on God's absolute sovereignty, predestination and election, the total depravity of man, the limited nature of Christ's atonement and the eternal security of the believer. The primary doctrines of Calvinism are popularly represented by the mnemonic acrostic TULIP.
Calvinism draws its name from the French reformer and theologian, John Calvin and is therefore also known generally known as Reformed theology.
Because of its particular understanding of the sovereignty of God, election and the depravity of man, one of the more controversial distinctives of Reformed soteriology is that regeneration is said to precede faith.
In the United States, most of the settlers in New England and the Mid-Atlantic region were Calvinists, including the Puritans, the Dutch settlers of East-Central New York and parts of Appalachia.
Presbyterian churches are typically (although not exclusively) Calvinistic, as are a growing number of Baptist and independent Bible churches.
See also: Arminian theology, TULIP
The Roman Catholic Church is the largest Christian church (in the "world religion" sense of the term "Christian") with more than one billion adherents. It is distinct from other Christian traditions particularly with respect to the doctrines of Apostolic Succession and Episcopal Infallibility.
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that it is the original church founded by Christ and the Apostles and that it has maintained an unbroken line of apostolic authority in the Popes and the other bishops (the Pope is the Bishop of Rome) through "Apostolic Succession."
The Roman Catholic Church also maintains that it has the ultimate and final authority to correctly and authoritatively interpret the Bible and teach all matters doctrine and practice without error through a special dispensation of grace from God called Episcopal Infallibility.
According to Catholic theology, a person becomes a Christian at baptism as it cleanses from original sin and imparts sanctifying grace. As affirmed by the Council of Trent and taught continuously by the Catholic church, justification before God is dependent upon both faith and works, with those who teach salvation by faith alone condemned as anathema.
The view that the miraculous sign gifts of the Holy Spirit as described in the book of Acts and 1 Corinthians began to decline over the course of the first century and ceased being used by God with the death of the last apostle in approximately A.D. 95. Therefore the sign gifts are not operative in the church in the present age.
The Charismatic Movement officially began in 1961 as the Pentecostal experience of what are said to be the present-day operation of the miraculous sign gifts began to cross denominational lines. The first non-Pentecostal Charismatic church was an Episcopal Church in Van Nuys, California.
Because the Charismatic Movement was originally a movement among existing churches in many denominations, there were few exclusively Charismatic churches in the early days. Over time, due to the inevitable theological problems and conflicts, Charismatic groups would leave their denominational churches, either willingly or by compulsion, and then form independent churches. By the 1980s Charismatic denominations had also formed and over time, many Charismatic organizations, hospitals, media outlets, magazines and printing houses were established.
Due to the diverse theological heritage of the Charismatic Movement, it can be difficult to identify theological beliefs which are broadly characteristic of the movement as a whole. Some groups tend to be similar to Pentecostal churches, others tend to be more Baptistic, while others tend to follow Holiness traditions. Some are not significantly different than evangelical Bible churches in their theology and practice, except for the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.
Since the 1980s, the movement has become even more diverse and actually divided because of differences in what is considered to be acceptable Pentecostal / Charismatic theology and practice. Some groups, such as Calvary Chapel (under the leadership of Chuck Smith in Costa Mesa, CA) are characteristically conservative evangelical in their teaching and try to carefully keep spiritual gift manifestations within what they consider biblical guidelines. Others, such as the very broad Word-Faith Movement, which has largely merged with the equally influential Vineyard Movement, have almost become the theological and practical center of the movement, despite incorporating some of the most bizarre elements into the church, such as "holy laughter," "drunkennes in the spirit" as well as dreams, visions and private visitations by angels and even the Lord himself.
See also: Azusa Street, Pentecostalism
The movement within the Roman Catholic Church (which began in 1967) that holds to the Pentecostal theology of the present-day continuation of the sign gifts such as tongues and healing. Essentially it is the Catholic expression of the Charismatic Movement.
A derogatory term often used in conjunction with charges of "easy-believism" in describing a view of the gospel and associated evangelistic methods that does not emphasize the need for someone to submit to the Lordship of Christ in order to be saved. It is generally used in contrast to what is termed "Lordship salvation."
See also: Easy-believism, Lordship Salvation
Christian & Missionary Alliance
An evangelical Protestant denomination which originally began as two parachurch organizations, founded in 1887 by the Rev. A.B. Simpson.
One organization, the Christian Alliance was established to address the issue of declining spirituality in urban areas, with an emphasis similar to the "Higher Life" movement and the Keswick Convention. The second organization, the Evangelical Missionary Alliance was established because of Simpson's passion to reach unevangelized peoples worldwide. The two were merged in 1897 to form the Christian and Missionary Alliance.
In the early 1900's, Simpson was influential in the Pentecostal movement, particularly through training pastors in his Missionary Training Institute in Nyack, New York. However, after Simpson's death in 1919, the C&MA began to move away from Pentecostal theology and rejected speaking in tongues. However, the present C&MA statement of faith affirms that physical healing is provided for in the atonement and also that a work of sanctification is a crisis event subsequent to conversion (as do churches in the Pentecostal and non-Pentecostal holiness traditions).
The technical theological term for the study of the doctrine of Christ.
Church Growth Movement
A broadly evangelical movement (with no formal organization or leadership) which focuses on developing church growth strategies and methodology in order to reach a given culture with the gospel. The roots of the Church Growth movement, or CGM, go back to the 1950's and the work of Donald McGavran, a Christian Church / Disciples of Christ missionary to India, who is generally considered to be the "father" of the movement.
Church growth strategists analyze current sociological and economic conditions and trends in a given culture in order to identify potential barriers to penetrating that culture with the gospel. This analysis is then correlated with factors known to influence church growth in order to develop effective strategies and methodologies for bringing the unchurched into the church with the goal of making disciples.
CGM has gone through various phases and submovements such as "seeker sensitive" (as developed by Bill Hybels and Willowcreek Community Church), "Purpose Driven" (as developed by Rick Warren and Saddleback Community Church), and "power evangelism" in Charismatic circles (as taught by C. Peter Wagner and John Wimber).
In contrast, CGM has been broadly criticized by many conservative evangelicals as being an unbiblical, pragmatic philosophy that brings pop-culture into the life of the church, with entertainment as a primary means of evangelism and worship.
Church of England
See: Anglican Church
Church of God
Used as the name or part of the name of many denominations and thousands of churches, particularly Pentecostal churches that developed out of the holiness tradition in the early 1900s.
Perhaps the largest denomination is the Church of God, Cleveland, Tennessee, which is holiness Pentecostal.
The view that immortality or that a person exists eternally is conditioned on whether or not they are saved. Those who are saved exist eternally in the presence of the Lord, while the lost do not exist eternally - do not have immortality - and are annihilated, rather than punished forever in the Lake of Fire.
See also: Great White Throne Judgment, Lake of Fire, Second Resurrection, Second Death
A practice that is viewed by its proponents as a spiritual discipline that incorporates meditation and "centering prayers" in the pursuit of a personal experiential encounter and intimate communion with God.
Contemplative spirituality marks a return to the ancient practices of the Christian mystics who sought to know God in a way that transcends objective intellectual knowledge and that is inaccessible through logic and reason.
Contemplative Spirituality is generally viewed as unbiblical and dangerous by conservative evangelicals for many reasons, including the very close similarities it has with Eastern mysticism.
The view that the miraculous sign gifts of the Holy Spirit as described in the book of Acts and 1 Corinthians continue to be given by God and are active and available to believers to the present day as held by Pentecostal and Charismatic groups.
Council of Trent
The nineteenth and one of the most important ecumenical councils of the Roman Catholic Church, convened in twenty-five sessions from 1545 to 1563. Trent was held largely in reaction to the Protestant Reformation and the attendant "heresies" being taught by the Reformers.
Many of the distinctive teachings for which the Roman Catholicism has been popularly condemned within Protestantism were formally defined as official dogma at the Council of Trent. These doctrinal areas were Scripture and Tradition, sin, justification, the veneration of saints, and the sacraments, including the affirmation of Transubstantiation as it is said to take place during the Eucharist.
Another purpose of the council was to address some of the issues raised by those within the church, like Martin Luther, who rightly spoke out against corruption within the hierarchy of the Church and the abuse of authority and financial abuses in things like indulgences.
Modern Popes have confirmed the binding nature of the Tridentine (a term used in reference to Trent) decrees, meaning that there has not and cannot be any modification of the Catholic doctrines noted above. This is significant for a number of reasons, including the fact that Trent condemned as anathema (cursed) anyone who affirms that salvation is by faith alone, with works having no role in justification.
The Council of Trent also marked the beginning of the Counter-Reformation, which had far-reaching effects on containing the growth of Protestantism in Europe, through spiritual, political and even violent means.
(Also known as Federal Theology) a theological system that views the theological concept of "covenant" as the organizing principle of biblical theology in Scripture and God's eternal program.
In addition to the biblical covenants explicitly defined in Scripture (Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic, and New Covenant), Covenant Theology generally teaches three additional covenants which are not explicitly found in Scripture, but which are said to be implicitly there. These theological covenants are referred to as the:
Covenant of Redemption - an eternal agreement between the Father, Son and Spirit
Covenant of Works - an agreement between God and Adam in the Garden of Eden, whereby Adam was the representative head of the human race
Covenant of Grace - which provides a solution to the sin of Adam which was passed to his descendants through the work of Christ on the cross on behalf of those who would believe in him
A major precept of Covenant Theology is the concept that the Church is the only people of God, and that spiritual Israel (believing Jews) is a part of that people. Therefore, in contrast to dispensational theology, Israel is not seen as distinct from the Church and it is reckoned that the promises made by God to national Israel in the Old Testament are fulfilled spiritually in the Church. Consequently, most Covenant Theologians are post-millennial or amillennial in their eschatology, believing that Christ is presently reigning from the Throne of David in heaven. This requires that Old Testament prophetic passages concerning Israel must be interpreted spiritually or allegorically rather than literally.
See: Progressive Creationism
The view of origins that holds to the immediate and early creation of life on the earth described as being created by God in Genesis 1:1. However, a significant time-gap is proposed between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 to accommodate the broadly-accepted scientific interpretations of the geological evidence which indicate that the age of the earth is billions of years. Included in this view this older earth somehow and for some reason eventually became "formless and void." It is this the now formless and void material that God used to recreate the earth and bring forth life consistent with that observed on the earth today as described Gen. 1:2ff.
See also: Progressive Creationism; Young-earth Creationism; Old-earth Creationism
The view of origins that generally accepts the text of Genesis chapters 1 and 2, but which focuses on the overall story of origins as a broad framework for understanding origins. However, this would not include an interpretation in which the creation days, and the morning and evening delineations represent literal 24-hour days. In this view, God created everything immediately and completely for that time period - and then allowed the creation to progression and develop for indeterminate periods of time - followed again by periods of creation. These cycles of progressive creation are true of the entire universe and not limited to the development of life on the earth alone. Progressive Creation would be part of the explanation for the apparent age of the earth of many millions of years.
The view of origins that accepts a literal interpretation of the creation account in Genesis chapter 1, which includes the belief that God created the earth in six 24-hour days. Young-earth creationism as a comprehensive view of origins necessarily extends to a literal interpretation of Genesis chapters 6 - 8 concerning the Noahic Flood as the explanation for geological phenomena that are viewed as evidence of millions of years geological and environmental processes by evolutionists, as well as "Old-earth" and "Progressive" creationists.
Young-earth creationists generally hold to an age of the earth that is around 12,000 years or less, with many accepting an age of approximately 6,000 years on the view that the relevant biblical genealogies are presented without any gaps.
See also: Gap Creationism, Progressive Creationism, Old-earth Creationism
A broad term that actually encompasses various views of origins including the Gap Creationism (related to a long period of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2), Day-Age Creationism and Progressive Creationism.
See also: Gap Creationism, Progressive Creationism, Young-earth Creationism
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